The Appeal of Holiday Novels


The air is crisp and there is a hint of frost on the wind. A few flakes drift through the air; the soft white iciness hits the windowpane and melts. It’s that time of the year again—time for the holiday novel.

What is it about holiday novels that we love? And you can’t deny that we do. If you read romance, at one point or another, you’ve curled up in your favorite reading spot with a Christmas book in your hands. I know that some bookstore patrons moan when they see the plethora of holiday reading hitting the shelves in mid to late October, but I’m not one of them.

As readers, what is it about these books that we love? For some it is the comfort, the familiarity of slipping away into a happily-ever-after fantasy in the midst of the mall madness. It is an escape from the holiday frenzy. And there are holiday stories to suit all tastes. You can laugh, you can cry, or you can sigh. Want something a bit different? Celebrate the Christmas season with vampires or werewolves. Slip into an erotic fantasy or sample some magic. It’s all available.

As well, it’s a way for us to get our fix from some of our favorite writers while we wait for their next book. It’s also a wonderful means of sampling new authors we might not yet have tried. There is nothing like the thrill of discovering a fabulous new author for the rabid romance reader. I should know, being a rabid reader myself!

As writers, why do we love to write these books? For one, we know that readers like them. But it is much more than that. Holidays are rife with emotion, with magic, with possibilities. How can we resist?

Take Valentine’s Day. Is there any other such emotionally charged day in the calendar year? I think not. For right or wrong, this day has become synonymous with love. For many single and divorced women, it is an ordeal to be gotten through. Even for those who have boyfriends or husbands, it is fraught with emotion. Will he remember? Will he forget?

Let’s not forget Halloween. This is the time of year when we indulge in the dark side of human nature. Masks, vampires, werewolves, and things that go bump in the night all lend themselves to fantastical and erotic adventures. Who we are behind the mask may be more of who we really are in the light of day, but we feel more freedom to show it behind the guise of a masquerade.

That brings us back to Christmas. No matter what your belief system, you have to admit that this is a magical time of year when anything is possible and miracles do happen. Is there any way a writer could resist the temptation to write about this holiday? I think not. With the fire crackling in the fireplace, candles lit, the scent of pine and popcorn wafting through the air, it is a scene just begging for a story of unrequited love or perhaps love found between strangers. Secrets abound and the possibilities are endless.

Plus, holiday stories are usually shorter than full-sized books, allowing the author to indulge in a quicker project in between novels. It’s fun and it’s very satisfying. I’ve written a Valentine, Halloween, and a Christmas story and I’ve enjoyed every second of creating each one.

But I’m also a reader, so I’ll be checking out all the new holiday books this season and picking up one or two of them to get me through the holiday mayhem and put me in the Christmas spirit.

Happy Holidays to one and all!

26 Responses to The Appeal of Holiday Novels

  1. Robert Mcconnell

    This is a super. Loving it dude!

  2. Яков

    Я подписался на вашу РСС ленту, но посты почему-то в виде каких-то значков непонятных 🙁 Как это исправить?


    +1 к предыдущему комментарию 🙂

  4. Robin Snodgrass

    Wonderful post! Visually evocative description in that very first paragraph.

    I’m another who loves holiday themed stories – not just for Christmas but for all the major holiday seasons. There’s something about the feelings they invoke that makes them special I think.

    Don’t want to leave without saying, I love your work and always look forward to your new ones!

  5. N.J. Walters

    I think that is the biggest reason we like themed stories, Shelley. They really help put us in the mood for the holiday.

  6. Shelley Munro

    NJ – I loved themed stories, especially for Christmas because they help me get in the mood. I enjoy the halloween ones because we don’t really celebrate down here in New Zealand, and it helps me get my fix.

  7. N.J. Walters

    That’s a great idea, Cherie. I wouldn’t be able to keep from reading them. LOL

  8. N.J. Walters

    You can’t go wrong with Nora Roberts. 🙂

  9. Cherie J

    I love holiday romances and I have a stack I gather months ahead especially for reading at this time. It helps me get in the mood.

  10. mammakim

    I have read ghost ones or ones that have a ghost presense in them, I should say. In the Garden series by Nora Roberts

  11. N.J. Walters

    The warm fuzzy stories are definitely much easier to find in Christmas and Valentine Reads, Kim. Halloween stories tend to be darker by their very nature.

  12. mammakim

    Hmm I can’t say I am skeptical at all. I just have never read any. I like ghost stories but I have never really read a vampire one either. I usually read the wrm fuzzy ones 🙂

  13. N.J. Walters

    Glad you enjoyed rereading Jessamyn’s Christmas Gift, Jenn.

    I haven’t read Jaci’s new book yet, but I’m sure it’s fabulous.

    The book I just got a sneak peek of is Lauren Dane’s new one, To Do List, due out from Samhain Publishing on December 11th. It’s a heartwarming, sexy, Christmas read. You’ll love it!

  14. N.J. Walters

    Congratualtions on your upcoming Christmas release, Anny. I’ll definitely drop by your blog for a look!

  15. N.J. Walters

    Mammakim, I really like Christmas stories, but I think that Halloween are my favorites. I love paranormal stories with ghosts and vampires and things that go bump in the night. Even a regular contemporary romance takes on a different feel when people are wearing a mask at a Halloween party.

  16. N.J. Walters

    LOL You’re absolutely right, Jaycee. It is another way to get into the holiday spirit. 🙂

  17. Jenn L

    OOOH NJ you have my curiosity peaked. I read two Christmas themed books yesterday.

    Jaci Burton’s Unwrapped and Jessamyn’s Christmas Gift by none other than NJ herself.

    The thing I find most amazing about Christmas stories is that can read them again and again. It’s like visiting old friends year after year.

    Hi Kim,

    I too was skepitcal aout Halloween themed ones, last year and this year I read quite a few that were very clever and the costumes helped to add to the mystery of the tales.

    I think you will really be surprised at what you’ll find.

  18. anny cook

    Heh-heh… Glad you like Christmas stories, NJ! I have one releasing next week. And I blog the entire month of December about Christmas so drop by. You’re absolutely right. Holiday stories have more emotion and evoke more memories than any other stories. Good blog!

  19. mammakim

    I love Holiday stories, Christmas is my favorite holiday. I read Christmas stories from November until January. I love a good Valentines story too. I have to say, I don’t think I have read a Halloween one though. Hmm there is something to look into 🙂

  20. Jaycee

    Hmmm I think it’s just another way to get in the “mood”. You know like Christmas music etc. Just another way like that. And I mean who doesn’t like a lil good ole festive smut lol

  21. N.J. Walters

    Well said, Jenn.

    I actually read a Christmas book yesterday and it was lovely. I’ll be blogging about it over the next few days in fact.

  22. Jenn L

    Hi NJ

    I have to say that Holiday novels are just a necessary indulgence. When the holidays come, especially Christmas, I find myself so busy and I just need a little escape.

    Knowing I can pick up a book or read an ebook full of holiday cheer and a love story is sometimes just the right inspiration to help me keep up my busy schedule.

  23. N.J. Walters

    Morning, Jenyfer. You should keep writing your holiday story. Not all holidays are perfect, but they are all filled with heightened emotions. As long as your characters grow, that’s what is important.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  24. N.J. Walters

    Hey, Cathy. Thanks for checking out my Christmas page! And Christmas books do make a great escape this time of year.

  25. Jenyfer Matthews


    I think the appeal of holiday stories is the perfection and idealization of the holiday within the pages of the story – something few of us can achieve in real life!!!

    (Or maybe that’s just me 🙂

    They are tremendously appealing whatever the reason. I’ve tried to write some stories that take place around the holidays myself and for some reason my characters always go off in other directions and leave the holidays in the dust!

  26. Cathy M

    Just got thru reading the Christmas page on your website, N.J., lots of good scoop there, I loved it. And I agree about holiday themed stories. They are a great way to get in the mood, and make for a quick escape with so much going on this time of year.

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